Bakary Papa Gassama: Warning danger?
Round leather enthusiasts have recently been watching a reality TV series. Once again Papa Bakary Gassama is at the heart of the storm. At the whistle of the return match of the CAF Confederation Cup between Orlando Pirates and Al Ahli Tripoli last Sunday (May 15, 2022), the Gambian referee is once again the subject of heated controversy. His performance is still disputed.
Bakary Gassama challenged before the match
For this return match of the CAF Confederation Cup which was played in South Africa between Al Ahli Tripoli and Orlando Pirates, the Libyans did not want Bakary Gassama and they knew it clearly. Existing antecedents, the latter relied on several facts to « say no » to the central judge Gassama. On social networks, it was shooting « live ammunition » at the man in black. The Libyan club not wanting to experience the same tragedy as Algeria had preferred to prevent than cure. Alas, their cry has never been heard by the umbrella of African football. The consequences of this “imposition” are now visible. Once again, Gassama finds himself in the middle of a new storm. He is again accused of having falsified the result of the match which saw the Libyans win 1-0. But the latter are not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting because they believe that the Gambian judge behaved badly at the whistle and would have taken decisions against them. The case is even pending before the CAF, since Al Ahli has lodged an official complaint. This story follows the scandal of the Algeria – Cameroon match which saw the defeat of the Fennecs and which led to the latter’s non-qualification for the 2022 World Cup. These are the same charges that are brought against the Gambian .
Between Algeria and Gassama, it’s total disenchantment. The Gambian referee has been under the spotlight in recent days in the country of the Fennecs, but for a bad reason. At the whistle of the 2022 World Cup play-off match between Algeria and Cameroon, several accusations weigh against him. The FAF accuses him of having distorted the result (2-1) of the match because of his technical faults, which prevent the Greens from being in Qatar 2022. Suspicions of corruption are even mentioned by the Algerian press. Even if this page is being turned slowly, seeing the Gambian again on a Fennecs match is practically impossible, at least if CAF wants “Peace” within the African football family.
But before this match, recent press coupons indexing Gassama exist. According to the Algerian press, former CAF general secretary Amr Fahmy, in a statement made in 2019, has already warned about the « dark » side of the Gambian. According to the latter, Bakary Gassama would be involved in the manipulation of several matches, and his practices often tend to harm Algeria.
The rejection of the EST
Better, other facts that could cast doubt on the Gambian’s credibility are also exposed. Also in 2019, designated for the final of the CAF Champions League which must oppose EST and Wydad Casablanca, he was challenged by the Tunisian club. The reason is related to the bad role he would have played in the final in the WAC and Al Ahly in 2017. He would have taken the side of the Moroccan club during this final won by the WAC on the whole of the two games. “We take the liberty of informing you of our fears regarding the appointment of certain arbitrators whose behavior has been strongly contested and criticized in the past and whose performance in the event that they are appointed would give free rein to interpretations”, had written the EST on its social networks.
A fear of ES Tunis justified, since the match ended in front of the CAS, even if the contested decision is in favor of the Esperantists. The final never came to an end. Finally, ES Tunis is declared the winner.
Over the past six years, Bakary Gassama’s judgment has been more contested than any other referee on the continent. And this new scandal in which he is involved will further tarnish his image. It is time for CAF to stop the bloodletting by taking him away from the playing areas. This situation can also traumatize him and play cruelly on his ability to make good decisions.